02/25/2009 12:00AM

House of Silver fast, focused


House of Silver's rebellious youth is behind him. Instead of chafing against authority, he has started running fast turf races, and after a good win over the Fair Grounds grass course on Jan. 23, House of Silver will try to take another in Friday's featured ninth race, a second-level optional $40,000 claimer at 1 1/16 miles.

"He was a little rascal when he was younger, which is why we castrated him," said trainer Wally Dollase. "He's settling down now. He's getting a lot more class, not being as foolish."

Dollase has set up shop for the first time at Fair Grounds, and is having a nice little meet this winter. From 24 starters, he has 7 winners and 15 finishes of third or better, with House of Silver leading the charge. The 5-year-old House of Silver required seven tries to win a maiden race, and over and over he seemed merely to run around the racetrack without really focusing on the task at hand. But in December, back from a nine-month layoff, House of Silver showed more, setting a strong pace over the Fair Grounds grass, and holding clear all closers save Diamond Tycoon, who won the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap earlier this month.

In the Jan. 23 race, House of Silver once again went to the lead, going his second quarter-mile in about 23.80 seconds after an opening quarter of 24.60; such splits on the Fair Grounds turf would knock most front-runners off their feet, but House of Silver shaded 24 seconds for his final quarter-mile that day, and beat a promising horse named Naturalyontherocks by a half-length.

As with many grass horses who thrive in New Orleans, it is the local main track as much as the turf course that provides a boost.

"He loves the track down here at Fair Grounds, the soft dirt track," Dollase said. "The way he's training, he should run another good race."

House of Silver is one of seven entered for turf, with five horses coming out of a race at this class level on Feb. 6. Among those, Terryhowieandjimmy finished best, closing for third in a race dominated by off-the-pace types. Ablaze With Spirit was not far behind him in fifth, however, and stands to improve in his second start back from a two-month layoff.